• apoptosis;
  • caspase;
  • elaidic acid;
  • human umbilical vein endothelial cell;
  • trans fatty acid (TFA)


Although TFAs (trans fatty acids) do have effects on many endothelial functions, systemic inflammation and immune disorders, only limited experimental evidence is available that TFAs participate in the pathogenesis of endothelial cell apoptosis. HUVEC (human umbilical vein endothelial cells) were grown in medium with elaidic acid (9t-C18:1) at 50, 100, 200 and 400 μmol/l for 24 h. Apoptosis was measured by flow cytometry, and caspase 3, 8 and 9 activities by colorimetric assay and their mRNA expression by qRT-PCR (quantitative real-time PCR). Results showed that 9t-C18:1 induced apoptosis of HUVEC in a dose-dependent manner. The activities and mRNA expression of caspases 8, 9 and 3 were significantly increased compared with that of the control. Z-IETD-FMK and Z-LEHD-FMK inhibited the activation of caspase 3 and apoptosis induced by 9t-C18:1. Also Z-IETD-FMK inhibited the activation of caspase 9. mRNA expressions of Bid and Smac (second mitochondria-derived activator of caspase)/DIABLO [direct IAP (inhibitor of apoptosis)-binding protein with low pI] were also significantly elevated. We conclude that 9t-C18:1 induces apoptosis of HUVEC through activating caspases 8, 9 and 3. The death receptor pathway and the mitochondrial pathway both participated in the apoptosis course induced by 9t-C18:1.